As Jasmyne Keimig mentioned in Slog AM, Stephen Bannon was arrested on a $35 million, 150-foot yacht this morning after he was charged with defrauding donors while working on the 2016 Trump presidential campaign. Today he pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Bannon was one of four people arrested.
It's gonna be a nasty November: Trump keeps saying the only way he'll lose the election is if it's rigged. “The only way they’re going to win is by a rigged election, I really believe that,” he told reporters today.
WHAT: I'm not a fan of this.
Fortunately, it appears the take-cover alert has been lifted and was issued as a precaution after "a one-gallon container of an unidentified substance was found." The alert, it should be noted, was originally issued at 4:20.
It's the last night of the DNC: If you thought this week was exhausting, just wait until next week's RNC! Highlights tonight include speeches from Pete Buttigieg, Cory Booker, Keisha Lance Bottoms, Tammy Duckworth, and, finally, Joe Biden. Watch it live here:
Nature is healing: Wolverines have returned to Mt. Rainier for the first time in over a century.
Wolverines Return to Mount Rainier National Park After More Than 100 Years, News Release: https://t.co/qmCkTDsFAU
Video of three wolverines at the end of a snowfield then running through a meadow into a forest. Credit: Travis Harris -kl pic.twitter.com/ALwJoAOmTG
— MountRainierNPS (@MountRainierNPS) August 20, 2020
RuPaul's Drag Race star Chi Chi DeVayne has died: Sad news for fans of drag today. DeVayne was 34 and is believed to have died from kidney failure. DeVayne had previously talked about living with scleroderma. She had a charismatic, athletic Southern style of drag. Her version of "Last Dance" is one of the great drag performances. I was lucky and able to see her do it twice in Seattle, a city she openly talked about loving. For a while, she was planning on moving here. It would've been great to see her as a regular at R Place. Rest in power, Chi Chi.
We've got some blurbs from Jasmyne, who followed Inslee's proclamation this afternoon on museums being allowed to open earlier than originally announced:
Governor Jay Inslee updated his Safe Start guidelines to allow the limited reopening of museums in Phase 2 counties: Museums had initially been relegated to Phase 3, even though art galleries were given the okay to reopen in Phase 2 under retail guidelines. In a press release, Inslee said his office had been working with stakeholders for "weeks and sometimes months" to get to the plan that was dropped today.
Ok, if you're in a Phase 2 county, what will a trip to a museum during a pandemic entail? Masks are, of course, required, but it seems like walking around a museum will be like going to a not-as-hectic grocery store. Here's what to expect:
Museum capacity will be limited to 25 percent with individual rooms also monitored to ensure they are not above 25 percent capacity. All exhibits that allow touching surfaces must put up "No touching" signs or provide a touchless alternative. You must reserve and pay for timed tickets/staggered entry by phone or online to minimize interaction. Galleries must allow one-way traffic flow through the building. There must be regular sanitization and cleaning of facilities and common/highly-touched surfaces, especially restrooms by staff. Museums must provide hand sanitizer for patrons. Signs will discourage group congregation or limit the number of people in a certain area. Food and beverage services must conform to Phase 2 dine-in food service guidelines; gift shops must conform to Phase 2 retail guidelines. No events!
And for museums in Phase 3 counties: Ditto all of the above except capacity is capped at 50 percent, limited participant events are allowed, and gift shops and cafes have to conform to Phase 3 guidelines.
Bowling alleys and agritourism sites (like U-pick farms and tree farms) in Phase 2 counties also got updated guidelines, allowing them to reopen: You can read the full details on all these sectors in Gov. Inslee's news release here.
COVID-19 cases are dipping in Washington state: Which means you should keep social distancing, wearing your masks, etc, etc. Gov. Inslee said today he was "cautiously pleased" about the situation. We're doing better than we were doing in late July, but we're not doing stellar: “We have to be honest with ourselves, to realize that we are so far away from success on this, that we have to remain incredibly diligent,” Inslee warned.
Hold the phone! We've got a blurb from Rich Smith, too:
Washington Dems denounce birther bullshit in Thurston County: A Latinx woman and first-time Democratic candidate named Carolina Meija is leading a Thurston County Commissioner race, and she’s recently been subject to some birther bullshit from some local right-wing political activists. A guy named Jon Pettit ran some half-assed background check on her, grabbed what he thought was her social security number, and filed a complaint with the Thurston County Canvassing Board claiming she was ineligible to run because she’s “probably an illegal alien.” She’s not. “Thurston County Auditor Mary Hall said Mejia has provided documentation showing that she is a naturalized citizen and holds a U.S. passport,” reports the Olympian. Today the state Democrats held a press conference denouncing Pettit’s allegations and called on Republicans to join them. We’ll see!
A handful of regional arts and science organizations are getting support from King County COVID-19 relief grants: The grants total around $2 million and are backed by the federal CARES Act. Among the grantees, the Seattle Aquarium Society was granted over $200,000. Clock-Out Lounge, Neumos, and Kremwerk were among the music venues awarded just under $20,000. Seattle Children's Museum, Seattle Children's Theater, and Seattle Repertory Theater were among the organizations that were granted $10,000. Find the whole list on Capitol Hill Seattle blog.
Fremont Peak Park "is for the people": Yesterday, I wrote about my favorite little park in Seattle, Fremont Peak Park. Then some concerned neighbors were upset and suggested I get "express approval" from the people who helped create the park before blowing up that secret little public park. WELL! A man who says he's the founder of Fremont Peak Park, Jack Tomkinson, sent along this email late last night:
Thanks for gushing over my park. You’re absolutely right that it democratizes the view. I was so sick of last hill tops and beaches being privately owned that I took on a project of a lifetime to preserve that property and remove the three houses on it. It’s quite the story.
We actually raised $2,000,000 to buy the property, design the park, and build the park. It took seven years.
I’m very curious who complained about your publicizing the park. I’m thrilled every time I see people chilling in the park. That is exactly what it’s for. Unfortunately we’ve had some folks get real snotty about who should enjoy the park. That’s BS. It is for the people.
Here is a bit more about the how the park came to be. You can see where the three houses were in the model on that page. The wide beige walls in the park were added. The thin plain concrete ones were the foundations of the two houses on either side of the driveway (long gone). The view house was completely removed and its foundation was buried. The attached picture shows what living room looked like at the broker’s open house the day I first got to see the view. A week later we had a temporary buyer to hold the houses while we raised the money to turn the estate into a park. What a journey!
I’ll be looking for Oliver’s Twist. Thanks for the tip. Cheers!
I agree, Jack! That park is for the people! Here's that living room:
Some caveats to Fremont being "for the people": If the Fremont Neighborhood Council had its way, very few of us would be visiting. Longtime figure of that Council, Toby Thaler (now Councilmember Pedersen's legislative aide), frequently opined how renters can destroy the "cohesion" of neighborhoods. "If you let the entire single-family zones become rental, the cohesion of the neighborhoods, especially the close-in ones, is essentially going to get eroded away. It’s a disturbing trend and it’s part of the whole erosion of homeownership," he told the Seattle Times in 2018. The area loves a good downzoning.